Thoughts on: “The Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow

There were two chance events that stood out to me that night I waled out of the murky cellar bar in central Stockholm where I had discussed this book with four other non-fiction junkies.

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The 1st coincidence was that during the cause of reading the book, one of the group members had unknowingly ended up at a family dinner with the author. Only when seeing the book in the household, and mentioning she was reading the book, the fact became obvious.

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The 2nd coincidence was that during

a discussion about the properties of true randomness—it’s tendency towards repetition- another attendee showed a tattoo he had made all over his left arm, displaying long slithering snake of quantum generated random 1:s and 0:s.

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What are the odds of that? 🤷‍♂️

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📝 Regression toward the mean:

In any series of random events an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one.

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📝 Randomness clusters: here is a random series of 1:s and 0:s. Notice the repetition. Let’s say you are a reasearcher and get random numbers to work with and you end up with a sequence with overwhelming repetition. This is not unlikely. When do you start to doubt the randomness of the sequence?

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1

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📝 “If you want to succeed; double your failure rate.” – Watson

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📝 Apple had to make their iPods shuffle function less random because people experienced getting the same song twice as ”un-random”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since chance seems to play a bigger role in life than we like to admit, the number of chances you take and the number of opportunities you seize matters.

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The basic concepts of randomness is laid out in this books and how they are often overlooked. We are also served a great history of how the science of probability evolved.

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I recommend this book if you enjoy the work of Nassim Taleb and/or find joy in logic and math problems. Suitable for an aspiring know-it-all!

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3/5

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⁉️ How do you maximize exposure to “luck” & chance?⁉️

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Photo: bombsaway_

For more great books and reviews: check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Let’s face it, successful people and unsuccessful people have the same goals. It’s the systems and strategies you put in pace that makes the difference between the two.

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“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the levels of your systems.”

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James Clears book is the ultimate guide to the WHYs and HOWs of those systems.

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🎭 IDENTITY:

Improvements are only temporary until they become who you are. You are not just going to read a book; you are going to become a reader. You are not going to run a Marathon; you are going to become a runner.

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🏞 ENVIRONMENT:

Make bad habits difficult to perform and good habits easy: prep your gym bag the day before and put by the front door. Bring a book everywhere you go. Move candy and snacks from the kitchen to the cellar. Remove the batteries from the remote after watching tv if your struggle with bingeing.

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🚦 SYSTEMS:

Stack new habits on top existing ones! “After I brush my teeth, I floss”

“After I finish’s my morning coffee, l journal for 5 min.”

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🔁 REPETITION:

Don’t ask yourself HOW LONG it takes to build a habit but HOW MANY TIMES it takes to build a habit. Start small and get the reps in.

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📈 PROGRESS:

One of the most satisfying feelings is to make progress. Habit trackers and other forms of visual measurements can make your habits more satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. “Don’t break the chain”: Instagram is a habit tracker for me (“visual reading progress”) and to keep a streak alive (“posting at set intervals”)

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The one-stop-shop for habit building.

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4/5

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⁉️ What habit did you build that you are proud of?!⁉️

For more book reviews and good reads, check out the Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: “The Netocrats” by Bard & Söderqvist

I tried to explain this book to a colleague before christmas break; how it utterly fashinated me, even though I feel I only understood it partly, and how it had provided me with a new lens with which to see the world.

It must have caught his interest, cuz when I got back to work we had lunch and he told me he had devoured the book and was working his way through another work by the same authors, Digital Libido, and was enthusiastically urging me to do the same.

The book, written in 2000, talks about a new paradigm. The transition from capitalism to informationalism in the wake of the internet era and how, like any genuine revolution means that the whole Darwinian system of punishment and rewards are restructured, introducing a new over and underclass.

The idea of this new system, the Netocracy, was invented in the 90:s is re-invented in this book by contemporary Internet philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist.

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📝 Before we ran away from strangers that looked strong. Now we engage them and gain mutual benefits.

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📝 The Consumtariat: Consumption rather than production is the role of the new underclass.

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📝 Politicians are selected based on their value as entertainment and what narrative they can fit into. They are elected to to feed the headlines.

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📝 Money will follow attention, not vice versa. The only hard currency on the net is attention.

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📝 Knowledge, contacts and exclusive information replaces capital for the netocrat.

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📝 “Technology plays its own hand”

Take the clock: innocent enough of an artifact. But this infernal little machine, with its introduction of second and minutes, have retrospectively given a whole new meaning to our perception of time.

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📝 “Giving birth is simply not fashionable anymore.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Great book to read before reflecting on how to navigate the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Is what you do professionally raising in value or is it losing its value in this new paradigm?

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⚖️ VERDICT:

A must-read and total mindf*ck. Being outdated is one of the strengths of this book. Because now, 20 years after the books release, we can see its predictions manifest in everyday life.

5/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Time travel, the beginning of the universe, wormholes and string theory. Considering the complexity of some of these topics it is strange that the book has become an international bestseller. Though, I read somewhere that it is one of the most gifted books; but also the least read.


📝 Children dare to ask questions adults don’t: “Why do we remember the past and not the future.” 👶 Be more like a child.


📝 “The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.” 🕰


📝 “There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made out of antiparticles.” My mother used to say that I shouldn’t be so “anti” everything to me when I was a teen. I guess I was one of the antipeople Hawkingtaled about. 👩🏽‍🎤


However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.


✅ TO DO LIST FOR MANKIND: Come up with a complete and consistent theory that combines quantum mechanics and gravity.


⭐️ Most fascinating to me was to learn about the Event Horizon, which is the boundaries of a Black Hole, and Thermodynamic Arrow of Time.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I have read it twice now and it was actually harder to follow the second time. Probably because I did it on audio and the complicated ideas—at least for my limited understanding—made more sense when they where accompanied by pictures, graphs and illustrations. It think there are more accessible books on the topic that N00bs like me should prioritize. The book is too much at times.

3/5


What your favorite book in the genre⁉️

(For me it’s probably Deep Simplicity, a fantastic book about what happens at the edge of chaos. Check it out!)

For more more great reads and insights–check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Educated by Tara Westover

A memoir. Likely one of the best I’ve read.

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Tara grew up in a pious Mormon family lead by a survivalist father with a fondness for conspiracy theories. His plan was to be fully self-reliant and “off the grid” before the End of Days, an event he was sure to be imminent.

Tara’s story about finding her independence is a powerful one; a narrative so well-crafted I had a hard time putting it down even for my most basic maslowian needs.


📝 Her mother was trained to be a midwife. The idea was that she would deliver the grandchildren ones the family was “off the grid”.

📝 The Protocols on the Elders of Zion: A fabricated document, from 1903, of a secret meeting of powerful Jews planing world domination. Discredited, but it still spread anti-semitism and fueled conspiracy theorists for decades to come.

📝 She read Mormon doctrine in mimicry of a brother that left her for school. “In retrospect I can see that this was my education. The one that would matter.” “The skill I was learning was a crucial one; the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”

📝 Mother was a herbalist and energy worker: “Mother was marketing her product as a spiritual alternative to Obama Care.” Made bank! 💰


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

It is fascinating how the object of concern for the conspiracy theorist change over time as each prophecy fail to deliver the end of days. When Y2K didn’t happened Taras father lost hope for a while, then the events of 9/11 filled that vacuum.


⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we run into trouble. What are we scoring here?! Our goal is to educate ourself about the human condition and learn how to live well in spite of it. The rating system gives and indication on how well a book meets that goal.

For our learning purposes it’s a good book (3). As a “beach book” it’s excellent! (4 or a 5). Pick it up during summer break (if you have the privilege to have one) then get back to your studies! 😉👨‍🎓👩‍🎓


3/5


⁉️ QUESTON:

Are there any books on the psychology of conspiracy theorists? AND What’s your thoughts on vaccines, Illuminati, Rothchilds, Aliens and government brainwashing? 🤔

Photo credit: @thebookunicorns

For more mind boggling read check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Martin Luther” by Eric Metaxas

Luther rejected the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and the practice of selling indulgences (get out-of-jail-free cards for purgatory, basically.) in particular. Thereby he started the era known to us as the Reformation.


Let’s jump right into the notes:

📝 He was about to become a law student when he got trapped in a lighting storm. Praying for his life he uttered: “Ich will ein Munk werden” (“I will become a monk”). The storm calmed and it was so.

📝 1476 the market for indulgences where expanded beyond the living. Now you could pay for the sins of the dead too!

📝 Luther heroically posting his truths on the wooden church door in Wittenberg is fiction made in hindsight. What Luther actually posted was an invitation to debate….which no one attended.

📝 Two things fueled the Reformation: the printing press and Luther writing in German (instead of Latin). Luther’s writing spread like wildfire which was unintentional. It was as if a hastily written email to a friend was accidentally forwarded to a major news corporation.

📝 “A simple layman armed with scripture is to be believed above a Pope or council without it.”

📝 “This life is the shithouse compared to the glories of heaven” – Luther 😎

📝 FUNNY STORY: A nobleman asked if he could buy indulgences for a future sin and a preacher named Tetzel said he could. When the peacher was about to leave town the nobleman robbed and beat him up and left with the comment: “this was the future sin I had in mind!”. 😂😂


Overall solid, VERY solid book. I enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would. Also it felt good to fill another gap in my history education; the Reformation.


What biographies have you planned for this year? 🤔

I would like to do another political leader (a president or Churchill) or a Nietzsche bio 💪🏻

4/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great reads!

Thoughts on: “The Power of Moments” by Chip & Dan Heath

The book does what it sets out to do and does it competently; It want to show how powerful moments- the moments that defines us and we remember for a long time – can change and elevate us. The Heaths breaks down why this is and how we can create more of powerful moments.


📝 The years between 15 – 30 has the most Moments. Probably due to novelty.

📝 Peak/End rule: Experiences are judged by two key moments; The peak and the end. Think about your last vacation. What do you remember from it?

📝 The Oddball Effect: Surprise stretches time. Novel moments are experiences as 36% longer than routine ones.

📝 “What did you fail at today?” A question for the family at the dinner table. Encourage to push yourself to stretch. An attempt to normalize failure.

📝 Try this! Next time you have a conversation, push intentionally beyond small talk. Make yourself vulnerable and be surprised by the results. Relationships don’t deepen naturally.

📝 Struggle together and strong bonds will be created. I just came off a challenging work project. Making RAGE2 (a video game) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The experience turned mere collages into brothers and sisters.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I got the recipe. Now I need to create more moments and better moments for myself and others.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I did not like this book, and I think it’s my fault. I have read to much about the subjects covered in this book already which makes a lot of the conclusions feel like common sense. BUT they probably aren’t if you are new to books on positive psychology, communication, leadership.

If you’re a new reader and want to create better relationships and be a better leader than this is a good starting point!


3/5

Photo credit: @kanoilab


Are you too suffering from diminishing return when reading certain genres? 🤔

Find the best books I’ve ever read in my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Abundance” Diamandis & Kotler

Exponential technology has the potential to create a world of abundance. Did you know that aluminum was the most valuable of metals back in the day? Now we use it for disposable cans. This book covers exponentials that will shape the near future. Including computing power, nano science, microbiology and 3D printing to name a few. It’s written to get people aware and excited about the future in a world where mass media predicts the end of the world. My main takeaway is to try to recognize how quality of life for almost everyone is steadily improving with the help of human ingenuity–and try to battle some of my tendencies towards a “scarcity” thinking.

5/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: “Give People Money” by Annie Lowrey

The idea behind Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a simple one; Give People Cash! Enough to live on—maybe not well, but enough —every month, for a lifetime. No strings attached. Let people pay for rent, invest in a business idea or buy heroin. Doesn’t matter.

In one strike you would end poverty. This is interesting stuff!

📝 Some Arguments for a UBI:

– More women would afford leaving an abusive partner.

– Increase bargaining power for workers.

– Keep the masses afloat in a jobless future.

📝 Luddite fallacy: The idea that machines are going to eliminate work. It has been around for decades. And been proven wrong many times. Is it different this time?

📝 It has been proven again and again that giving people cash doesn’t have any impact on people’s propensity to work.

📝 “Cash is universally useful.” Charity programs can be counterproductive as it gives shoes to people who already have shoes and actually need something else. Foreign aid clothes can disrupt the local clothing markets etc..

📝 It’s going to be expensive.. but it’s not even close to impossible.

I loved to finally dig into this subject as the idea of UBI fascinates me to no end. Unfortunately there is not much data on I it will actually work. There are a lot of experiments going on throughout the world and only time will tell if it works.

The book is alright but the concept is great! A solid introduction to the subject.

Here are a few other books about UBI to choose from:

📖 Utopia For Realists 📖

📖 Inventing the Future 📖

3/5

Photo credit: @rewritethestory

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini

Cialdinis book is a must read for everyone. Whether you try to influence someone or want to avoid being influenced by others. To know the weaknesses of the the brains reasoning abilities is the best way to protect ourself against making bad decisions. This book is jam packed with amazing facts, science and stories that will change the way you see the world. My main takeaway is that I need to continue be on my guard for influence workers that try to exploit the brains cognitive biases. The fact that this book isn’t obligatory reading in schools is beyond my comprehension.

5/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!